News Media Icon News Media

Dembski’s Expert Testimony in Dover Trial

Design theorist William Dembski reports that “last spring The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) hired me as an expert witness in the Dover area school district case regarding ID (Kitzmiller v. Dover)” and that “because the focus of that case and trial is a book titled Of Pandas and People and because I am the academic editor for the publisher of that book (i.e., The Foundation for Thought and Ethics [FTE]), when FTE tried to intervene in the case, TMLC decided to drop me as an expert witness, citing a conflict of interest.” Before that occurred, however, Dembski prepared “an expert witness report as well as a rebuttal of the opposing expert witness reports.”

Those reports are now available online here and here.

In the first, Dembski takes on a variety of issues. At one point, he clarifies the distinction between intelligent design and creationism:

Aristotle, who held to an eternal uncreated world and to a purposiveness built into the world, would today hold to intelligent design but not to creationism. The same is true for Antony Flew, who until recently was the English speaking world’s most prominent atheist. He now repudiates atheism because he sees intelligent design as necessary to explain the origin of life. Yet, in embracing an intelligence behind biological complexity, he does not hold to creationism.

The piece provides much more on that subject and on a variety of other issues related to the Dover case. Dembski’s second piece, “Rebuttal to Reports by Opposing Expert Witnesses” provides a more direct confrontation with the arguments brought out by the ACLU’s expert witnesses, Barbara Forrest, Robert Pennock, John Haught, Kevin Padian, and Kenneth Miller.
His discussion of philosopher Barbara Forrest’s testimony is particularly pointed:

Most philosophy programs at the college level offer a course in critical thinking. Although Barbara Forrest is a professional philosopher, much of her expert witness report consists in committing what such courses refer to as the genetic fallacy. According to one standard text on critical thinking,

[The genetic fallacy is] a type of argument in which an attempt is made to prove a conclusion false by condemning its source or genesis. Such arguments are fallacious because how an idea originated is irrelevant to its viability.

Every variant of the genetic fallacy that Forrest employs against intelligent design can be employed against evolution….

Dembski also prognosticates on Life after Dover here.

Jonathan Witt

Executive Editor, Discovery Institute Press and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Jonathan Witt, PhD, is Executive Editor of Discovery Institute Press and a senior fellow and senior project manager with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. His latest book is Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design (DI Press, 2018) written with Finnish bioengineer Matti Leisola. Witt has also authored co-authored Intelligent Design Uncensored, A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature, and The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot. Witt is the lead writer and associate producer for Poverty, Inc., winner of the $100,000 Templeton Freedom Award and recipient of over 50 international film festival honors.



__editedDover trialKitzmiller v. Dover Area School DistrictWilliam Dembski